By Mikayla van Loon
When James Cutler realised he wasn’t going to see his friends for a while he decided to send them a message by way of Jiggy.
Now Jiggy, the cute looking spatula, is trying to make his way across different parts of the city to reach his destinations.
“I was out doing my walk a couple of days ago and it just occurred to me that I’m not going to be able to see my friends for a while,” Mr Cutler said.
“And I thought to myself ‘I wonder if I could get an object passed to someone, if I could give it to someone who could then take it 5km and then they could pass it to someone else and take it 5km or 10km now and just how far could it go? Could I get it all the way to the other side of Melbourne?’ And so the idea of Jiggy Jogs was born basically.”
Jiggy relies on the person who finds it to take it and plant it somewhere else still within their 10km radius.
Mr Cutler said if someone picks it up in Lilydale, they could take it to Croydon and then another person could take it to Mitcham and then Box Hill from there.
The first Jiggy, Mr Cutler placed at Lillydale Lake and was taken by someone within the first hour and is now hopefully well and truly on his way to West Footscray.
Since then he has placed another four Jiggy’s at Lillydale Lake on the morning of Friday 4 June.
As far as Mr Cutler knows, two Jiggy’s have already started jogging to Bundoora, Cranbourne North, Dandenong and Prahran.
“So hopefully these people have taken them and have sent them on, not just taken them home and are using them to cook their pasta,” Mr Cutler said.
The chosen destinations are all places Mr Cutler has friends that he wants to reach out to.
“My friend Jonno lives in West Footscray and I can’t go and visit him but I could maybe send a message to get to him via a spatula.
“So hopefully Jonno will ultimately be at the end because he lives near Hansen Reserve in Footscray, likewise all my friends in the other places.”
Mr Cutler said it is crazy to think that Jiggy’s journey is now completely out of his hands.
“I have no way of following it on its journey, I just have to trust in the adventurousness of the general public and their willingness to get on board,” he said.
“I think the main thing is, once they get it, they need to document it, they need to use the hashtag and make a noise about it on social media so that someone else can track it down and then pass it on.”
Creative ideas seem to come out of these lockdowns but Mr Cutler said it is a mixture of creativity and boredom.
“It appeals to me in a community engagement type of way, here we all are doing our own thing but maybe there’s a way that we can all come together and be part of something not only a little bit bigger than ourselves but actually connecting with often complete strangers and I really like that,” he said.
“Hopefully it taps into their creative spirit, their adventurous spirit and they can see the potential fun of the idea, not to mention that I think the spatulas are pretty cute, so there is an appeal there too.”
As a performer and director, Mr Cutler has had much of his work cancelled, including his role in the hit musical School of Rock.
“So I’ve gone from a steady line of work in the industry to there not really being any opportunities for me right now.”
Last year he created an online community of performers called Musical Mugwumps that had over 600 performers from around Australia and some from overseas join every Sunday to sing through a different musical.
He said it was a way to stay connected with like-minded people but also another idea that allowed complete strangers to be a part of something together.
Jiggy Jogs, like Musical Mugwumps, is a way to help people feel the right kind of isolated and brighten people’s spirits.
“And who knows maybe others will pop up as well, not just by me but other people will start them and send them off on their own journey to different destinations,” Mr Cutler said.
“I would love to see that happen, I would love to see others create their own versions of Jiggy and see these guys travelling across the city.”
To see where Jiggy ends up, follow @jiggy_jogs or if you happen to stumble upon a Jiggy use the hashtag #jiggyjogs to log his progress.